Valek named Academic All-American

Tony Valek

MINNEAPOLIS — Augsburg College wrestler Tony Valek (JR, Belle Plaine, Minn./Scott West) was named to the Capital One Academic All-America College Division Men’s At-Large squad as a first-team recipient, it was announced on Tuesday by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

The Capital One Academic All-America award caps a year of tremendous honors for Valek, who was also named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar All-America squad for the second year in a row. Valek is an accounting major with a 3.94 grade-point average.

The award is the 23rd CoSIDA Academic All-America selection for Augsburg in school history and 10th since 2005. Valek is the eighth Auggie to ever earn CoSIDA Academic All-America first-team honors. He is also the ninth Auggie wrestler to earn the CoSIDA Academic All-America award in program history, and the first since his older brother Ryan Valek earned back-to-back honors in 2005 and 2006.

A three-time national tournament qualifier, Valek earned All-American honors for the second time in his career at the NCAA Division III National Championships in March with a second-place finish for the second straight year at 149 pounds, part of Augsburg’s second-place national team finish at the championships in La Crosse, Wis. He finished his junior season at 37-6 (19 pins, one technical fall, seven major decisions) and is 102-24 in his career.

Valek earned the national tournament award for most pins in least time, with three pins in 11:30 in the event, leading up to the national title match. He opened the tournament with two first-period pins to clinch All-America honors for the second time in his career, then scored a stunning pin with 14 seconds left in the national semifinal match — a rematch of the 2010 national title bout with Isaac Dukes of Case Western Reserve (Ohio) — to earn a spot in his second consecutive national championship match.

Valek was part of an Augsburg squad that finished fifth nationally in the NWCA’s Division III Scholar Team Award race with a 3.4947 team grade-point average, Augsburg’s highest since the NWCA began awarding Scholar Team Awards in 1998 — surpassing the 3.480 GPA of the 1998-99 team which earned the scholar team national title that season. Augsburg was the lone school to be ranked in the top 10 in both the national championship race and in the team scholar listing.

As a team, Augsburg finished second at the 2011 Division III National Championships with 88.5 points. Winners of 11 national titles in the last 21 seasons, Augsburg finished second for the 10th time in school history. Augsburg has finished among the top four teams nationally in Division III competition every year since 1989 and in the top 20 nationally every year since 1971.

Augsburg’s 23-year top-four streak is the longest active streak among any NCAA wrestling program, regardless of division, and is the second-longest overall streak in NCAA wrestling history. Augsburg has placed in the top four in NCAA competition 25 times in school history, the most of any Division III program and the fifth-most of any NCAA wrestling program.

Augsburg claimed five All-Americans this season, marking the 23rd straight year that Augsburg has claimed five or more All-Americans in NCAA Division III competition. Augsburg has had at least one All-American in national competition every year since 1977 — now 35 straight years.
The Capital One Academic All-America program is administered by CoSIDA. The Academic All-America Men’s At-Large program includes 12 men’s sports — fencing, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, lacrosse, rifle, skiing, swimming and diving, tennis, volleyball, water polo and wrestling.

Top student-athletes from non-Division I programs, who have already earned Academic All-District first-team honors, are eligible for inclusion on the College Division team. Student-athletes must have reached sophomore athletic and academic standing at their current institutions, have a grade-point average above 3.30 (4.0 scale) and have outstanding athletic credentials. The Academic All-America ballot is voted on by a committee of CoSIDA members.

Since the program’s inception in 1952, CoSIDA has bestowed Academic All-America honors on more than 14,000 student-athletes in Divisions I, II, III and NAIA, covering all NCAA championship sports.

Augsburg College’s All-Time CoSIDA Academic All-Americans:
Tony Valek, wrestling (men’s at-large), 2011 (first team)
Alex Hildebrandt, men’s soccer, 2009 (second team)
Alex Hildebrandt, men’s soccer, 2008 (third team)
Nick Manders, men’s soccer, 2007 (second team)
Andrew Neumann, football, 2006 (second team)
Ryan Valek, wrestling (men’s at-large), 2006 (first team)
Riley Conway, men’s track and field/cross country, 2005 (second team)
Mark Matzek, wrestling (men’s at-large), 2005 (first team)
Ryan Valek, wrestling (men’s at-large), 2005 (third team)
Darren Ginther, baseball, 2005 (first team)
Brent Peroutka, football, 2001 (second team)
Josh Cagle, wrestling (men’s at-large), 2000 (first team)
Brian Jones, wrestling (men’s at-large), 2000 (second team)
Josh Cagle, wrestling (men’s at-large), 1999 (second team)
Jim Peterson, wrestling (men’s at-large), 1999 (second team)
Scott Hvistendahl, football, 1998 (second team)
Ted Schultz, football, 1997 (first team)
Scott Hvistendahl, football, 1997 (second team)
Dan Lewandowski, wrestling (men’s at-large), 1997 (second team)
Andrea Haight, softball, 1991 (second team)
Karen Sterner, track and field (women’s at-large), 1987 (second team)
Karen Sterner, track and field (women’s at-large), 1986 (first team)
Paul Elliot, football, 1981 (only one team selected)